‘Megamind’ Heads Up Mega-Crowded Weekend Box Office

3D toon opens wide alongside “Due Date” and “For Colored Girls”; “127 Hours” and Valerie Plame biopic “Fair Game” make limited debuts

No matter what your age or gender, someone will be targeting you at this weekend's box office.

DreamWorks Animation's 3D toon "Megamind" will likely lead the robust domestic market, which also  sees Warner Bros.' dude movie "Due Date" and Lionsgate's Tyler Perry drama "For Colored Girls" open wide.

And there are some notable limited debuts, as well, ilncluding Fox Searchlight's Danny Boyle-directed "127 Hours" and Summit's Valerie Plame biopic "Fair Game."

Tracking to bring in somewhere around $50 million this weekend, "Megamind" will likely defy a confounding recent Wall Street trend for DreamWorks Animation.

The company's stock cratered following the studio's last two 3D openings, with the $43.7 million March start for "How to Train Your Dragon" and the $70.8 million launch for "Shrek Forever After," disappointing analysts on The Street.

Of course, "Dragon" went on to gross a five multiple in the domestic market, as well as an impressive $493.2 million worldwide, while a bonanza in the foreign market propelled the fourth "Shrek" to $737.4 million.

By Oct. 26, DreamWorks had reported that it had doubled its third-quarter income, standing by earlier claims that 2010 will be its biggest revenue-earning year ever.

"I don't think (DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg) and his company get the kind of respect they deserve," noted Don Harris, general manager of distribution for Paramount, which will release "Megamind" in 3,944 locations in the U.S. and Canada Friday, more than 2,600 of them 3D-equipped.

"Megamind" also will start out in 195 IMAX locations.

The film, about a space alien ineptly seeking world domination, voice-stars Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt. It's getting a respectable 61 percent fresh score from review-aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

"Due Date," meanwhile, carries the heft — and weight of expectations — from having "Hangover" director Todd Phillips behind it.

Opening in 3,355 theaters — pretty wide for an R-rated film — it won't likely match the outsized $45 million performance of "Hangover," but starring key "Hangover" ensemble player Zack Galifianakis alongside Robert Downy Jr. in a road-trip themed story, it's tracking strong. It's projected to bring in somewhere between $35 to $40 million its first weekend.

The movie was co-produced by Warner and Legendary Pictures at a cost of $65 million. It will begin its run with about 600 midnight engagements.

"They've done an unbelievable job with their (advertising) creative, and it's really paying off," noted one rival-studio executive.

Also in the mix is Lionsgate's "For Colored Girls," which represents a bit of an R-rated dramatic departure for filmmaker Tyler Perry, who has to date carved his sizable niche by making PG-13-rated comedies aimed at the African-American market.

Based on Ntozake Shange's 1975 stage play, the movie stars Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Kimberly Elise and Macy Gray and is splattered with a 32 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. It will open on 2,127 screens and is expected to gross just over $20 million this weekend, a decent start for a movie with a reported negative cost of $21 million.

Meanwhile, among limited openings, Fox Searchlight will debut the Danny Boyle-directed "127 Hours" in four big-city locations this weekend.

R-rated because of its pungent graphic images, the film stars James Franco as real-life twentysomething adventurer-turned-motivational-speaker Aron Ralston, who famously endured a near-week-long hallucinatory ordeal in a Utah desert cave, his hand pinned under an 800-pound boulder, until he freed himself via self-amputation.

The movie — which has caused numerous fainting spells among preview viewers —  is scoring an impressive 93 percent from Rotten Tomatoes.

Also, Summit Entertainment will debut the Doug Liman-directed "Fair Game" in 46 theaters. The biopic about outted CIA agent Valerie Plame stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn and is scoring a 73 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. 

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